Harry Potter is the fourteen-year-old protagonist and hero. He is famous within the wizard community for having warded off a curse from Voldemort, the most powerful dark wizard. Although this event occurred when Harry was only an infant, Harry managed to reverse the curse and take away Voldemort's power. Hary was left with a small lightening-shaped scar as a remnant of the encounter. Because Harry lived through a curse that no other wizard could survive, he is celebrated internationally. Harry does not remember these events, and because was orphaned by Voldemort's attack, he lives with his aunt, uncle, and cousin. These relatives do not tolerate any mention of magic in the house.

Because Harry was famous before he even knew he was a wizard, much of his personality is shaped by his desire to live up to his fame. He steers clear of special treatment, flattery, and praise. He strives to live a normal wizard's life, and to a great extent he does. He has close friendships, enemies, dilemmas, and triumphs just like any other adolescent boy. But Harry is distinct because of his courage and loyalty. Although Harry risks his life to fight the forces endangering Hogwarts, he always succeeds through a mix of skill and help from his friends. In this book, Harry faces Voldemort for the first time since his infancy. Through a combination of his own quickness as well as assistance from the ghosts of Voldemort's past victims, Harry emerges alive. Harry is not a typical or mythological hero. He is an underdog, with his skinny stature, broken glasses, and relative inexperience in the wizard world. Yet he lives up to his fame by bravely entering situations with the inborn faith that someone will get him through the situation alive.